Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater                                                                                                           West Side Strut                                                                                                                              Alligator 4921 (Only Blues)

About every year or two, the Alligator folks come up with a real “keeper” release that has fine tunes, superb performances, and is well-programmed. This is their latest CD to fill that bill. Eddie Harrington’s left-handed West Side guitar is to the fore, his vocals appropriately mixed, and the production by Ronnie Baker Brooks (Lonnie’s son) is both spot-on and up-to-date. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Originals by either Eddie and/or Ronnie (two covers are Mud’s “Walking Through the Park” and Fulson’s “Trouble, Trouble”) make up the bulk of the repertoire. Billy Branch guests on harp on some cuts, there’s a horn section on others – lots of variety to be heard, but all within the envelope that is presented. The song “Do Unto Others” (by Karen Leipziger [Eddie’s publicist] & Richard Fleming) effectively adds the voices of Otis Clay and Jimmy Johnson into the mix. Starting off with the stonkin’ “A Good Leavin’ Alone” and ending with the understated “A Time For Peace”, this is one CD that does not have the boring bits that often crop up in 53 minute albums.

Don’t wait for Christmas… go out and buy this one NOW! High quality, high energy blues and blues-based music from one of Chicago’s finest remaining “oldies”… don’t come around all THAT often, now do it?! (Hey – how about Byron?!)


THE BLUES TIMES; #201 – Dec ’09, p. 9.

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